OK, I know, the ripoff from “Old Blue Eyes” is probably a bit much, but I feel like it’s necessary to be able to give you all some perspective into what all has been going on in our household. The reasons why I seemingly went off the deep end here and made everything about our lives so public and so personal, out here for the world to see.
You see, I’m not sure if any one thing in our lives had happened I would have done all this, but the past year . . . not even a full 365 days, not even close . . . has been just plain awful.
It all started when my Grandfather had a stroke. My Mom and Dad have taken care of my grandparents for decades, my Dad letting them pay his rate for their prescriptions, my mom doing whatever they needed. When I was a kid we were always over at their house and in later years my brother helped take care of them. But when my Grandpa had a stroke, I had relatives that swooped in from out of town, took over, and took him and my Grandma away, implying that my Mother didn’t care. That hurt. Worse yet, the fact that my Dad, whose mere existence had caused my mother to be banished from the family before their marriage, helped so much and was cast aside didn’t seem to register.
Then, my Aunt passed away. She’d been fighting cancer for some time, but she lost the battle. My Uncle, a strong, fun man who we’d always loved being around was torn apart.
Then, not long after, when Abbi and I were in Omaha for the National Speech competition and my Grandpa passed away . . . out of town, away from home, making a wonderful mess to contend with. Abbi’s big moment was a blur, messed up. It was a terrible tournament made worse by the events of things. He moved, made the decision with my Grandma, but it didn’t change the fact that a horribly awkward situation was made worse by the emotional standoff at the mortuary.
Then came Andrea. You all know what happened there.
In that first month or so after Andrea passed away, we lost our house. Two weeks after returning to work my boss told me they wanted to demote me and force a pay cut of more than 1/3 of my salary.
We had to find another house, even though in the middle of the housing crisis, I actually went on one house appointment and there were more than 30 people and couples were negotiating to pay higher rent just to get the home.
Now, my father’s best friend, the man that was nearly his little brother, has passed away.
This has been just the most awful year. I don’t know what we did to upset the national order of things. I don’t remember stepping on some witch doctor’s grave. I don’t have a black cat bone. I don’t have my mojo working. Hell, I don’t even think I pulled the pin out of a fake voodoo doll.
So what they hell?
I mean, I don’t think I’m Job here, I don’t have boils, I’m not living in the desert. I worry I wouldn’t have the faith to sustain that kind of life anyway.
It’s enough to make me break, it really is.
So what do I do? I keep moving forward, I guess. I try to have a sense of humor. I play a LOT of music, both on the stereo and on the guitar. If I hadn’t I don’t think we could have gotten this far.
But I also give tons of credit to my father and mother. His best friend was deteriorating and having a hard time. He should have been there for his friend, but instead he was here, taking care of all of us . . . and I meant that. He wasn’t just helping, he was taking care of us. It’s a horrible thought to ponder that your father lost the man that he considers his little brother and he couldn’t be there because he was taking care of me.
The worst thing is, I’m glad he was. Without them both here we would never have made it, it’s that simple, and that makes it even worse.
So I write. I try to process it all by communicating my details so I’m not carrying even more weight.
Now we grieve again, this time for the man who was such a part of our lives.
So how much more can we take? Lord knows not much more.
To steal the words from the song again, “when I was 17, it was a very good year . . . “ and little did I know how good it probably was. I only hope that now, with this latest straw on the back of the camel, I hope that my daughter can say the same.